We’re almost into spring which means we’re coming to the stage of the season where teams are moving towards the home straight. But how are the Scottish pre-season favourites fairing? Does it look like the bookies got it right or are there some surprise packages out there looking to upset the odds?
Pre-season: Celtic 2/5, Rangers 9/4, Aberdeen 33/1, 125/1+ bar
Current: Celtic 1/50, Rangers 22/1
Glasgow Celtic look like they will make it nine league titles in a row as they canter away from Rangers having opened up a 13 point gap. 2/5 was the biggest price they have been to win the league for eight seasons when they were 5/6 in 2011/12. Infact one could argue 2/5 was value based on last seven seasons when they were priced 1/10, 1/9, 1/3, 1/25, 1/33, 1/40 and 1/25, an average of 1/10.
It could have been a different story up until recently with both sides neck and neck but Rangers have suffered some surprising defeats against Hamilton when 1/9, Kilmarnock when 3/10 and Hearts when 2/5. Despite the arrivals of Florian Kamberi and Ianis Iagi in January, perhaps the slog of the SPFL has caught up with them and Steven Gerrard’s men are focusing their attentions on the Europa League where they’ve made it through to the last 16 against Bayer Leverkusen and are 50/1 to claim glory.
Given how much Rangers have pushed them this season, Celtic may go off an even bigger price next season and would be one to add to the season long acca’s.
Pre-season: Dundee Utd 9/4, Dundee 7/2, Partick 5/1, Inverness 8/1, Dunfermline 10/1, Ayr 10/1, 20/1+ bar
Current: Dundee Utd 1/100, Inverness 40/1
The league looks to be done and dusted according to the latest odds and the 9/4 favourites in Dundee Utd look to have obliged with a 14 point gap at the top. They were well supported according to bookmakers in pre-season it seems as though they will make it five of the last seven market leaders to triumph. Dundee look to have underperformed according to their 7/2 pre-season odds as they sit a mammoth 18 points back in 3rd. It’s been a real surprise downfall for Partick Thistle, who having began the season as 3rd in the betting at 5/1, find themselves bottom of the league at this stage without a win in 10 games and facing a real battle to stay up.
Lawrence Shankland has been the real difference maker for Dundee Utd netting 24 of their 52 goals following his summer move from fellow Championship side Ayr. Many might have thought that Ayr at 10/1 was pretty short considering the loss of Shankland, and although they won 8 of their first 12 games, they’ve stuttered since with 8 defeats in 15 and will probably end the season looking over their shoulder.
Pre-season: Falkirk 4/7, Raith Rovers 6/1, Airdrie 12/1, Clyde 14/1, Forfar 16/1, 20/1+ bar
Current: Falkirk 8/13, Raith Rovers 9/4, Airdire 25/1
The League One title race looks to be going down to the wire with just one point separating 1st place Raith Rovers and 2nd place Falkirk with Airdrie just four points back in 3rd. It’s an interesting betting heat given the league table doesn’t reflect the odds but it’s understandable when you dig a bit deeper. Falkirk were 5/4 favourites at Raith when they drew 1-1 earlier this month and Raith were 6/4 equal faves at Airdrie last month suggesting Falkirk’s superiority is justified. Falkirk will host the two sides in the remaining eight games including what looks a blockbuster 2nd v 1st on the last day of the season with Airdrie also required to visit Raith. Throw in the fact that Rovers lost top scorer Jamie Gullan to Hibs in January, I think they should be a bigger price. This on top of losing 29 goal Kevin Nisbet in the summer. Falkirk look to be hitting their stride at the right time with seven wins in their last 11 and just the solitary defeat in 15.
Given they’re now a bigger price then they were pre-season, they look worthy of a bet. Their goal difference is a staggering +20 better than anybody else giving you an idea of how good they are and the reason why they go off so short every week.
Pre-season: Cove Rangers 7/4, Edinburgh City 4/1, Annan 13/2, Stenhousemuir 15/2, Stirling Albion 8/1, Brechin 10/1, Queens Park 14/1, Elgin 18/1, 20/1+ bar
Current: Cove Rangers 1/20, Edinburgh City 16/1
Like Dundee United, Cove Rangers were well supported in the summer and punters faith in them looks like it will be rewarded with them now only as big as 1/20 with a 13 point lead over 2nd faves Edinburgh City. They got off to a flyer winning 11 of their first 13 games and haven’t looked back winning 11 of their last 13 by coincidence. It’s deservedly so as well when you consider how much better they are than 2nd faves Edinburgh City having been a 4/6 shot at home to them just last month. Attackers Mitchel Megginson and Jamie Masson have been on fire contributing 39 goals and they even picked up experienced lower league superstar Rory McAllister in January from Peterhead in the league above to help see them over the finish line. Edinburgh City will have to settle for the play-offs and will hope 30 goal top scorer Blair Henderson can fire them up after a problematic season with injury and form issues has seen him bag just three goals.